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05 May 2013 @ 10:02 am
FIC: Honeymoon - 3/3  
Author: Osiris Brackhaus
Story Title: Honeymoon
Part: 3/3
Rating: PG
Configuration: /
Warnings: /
Word Count: 10.000
Setting: 'Phoenix Empire' verse, see Phoenix Empire Timeline & Index
Characters: Colin/Yaden, Ivan, Myriam, Darren, Beverly, Saint Cornelius
Summary: Colin's and Yaden's honeymoon leads them to Malicorn, the planet of beautiful beaches, fascinating locals and of course, bacon...
Feedback: Yes, please! Constructive criticism welcome!





"Uh... Master Darren?"

The soft-spoken question barely managed to penetrate the comfortable haze of Darren's afternoon poolside nap.

"You are Master Darren, aren't you?" the voice asked again, gently.

Darren opened a single eye and was almost instantly awake.

Right next to him, an alien was standing, smiling politely, two of her four hands folded in an unmistakeably shy gesture. With her long head and round teeth, she looked a bit like a herbivore terran dinosaur, an impression only enhanced by her massive body and long, sinuous tail. The two huge feet somehow ruined the imagery, though, as did the pilot's leather cap on her head and the carpet bag she was wearing over her right shoulders.

She looked instantly trustworthy and kind, a notion that Darren found astonishing even though he knew he had nothing to fear. There was only one race known to mankind that looked like this, and only one member that would appear in public here on Malicorn.

"Lady Beverly - " he managed to get out, his voice sounding surprisingly composed in his ears despite being in the presence of the only publicly named Nosoti. "What an honour."

"No, no, the honour is all mine," she replied eagerly, "I've read all you wrote about psion nutrition. Mostly for the recipes, though, but still. That is - if you are Master Darren, aren't you?"

"Yes, I am Darren," he replied with a laugh. Already he felt charmed by the alien, mostly by the way she didn't make him feel awkward even though he was wearing nothing but heinously orange board shorts. "You wanted to speak to Yaden, right? He's at the monastery, training, all afternoon - "

"I know." Smiling, Beverly waved her head from one side to another, apparently signifying another bout of insecurity. "I came for you."

"For me?" Startled, Darren sat up in the lounger he had been lying in. While tutoring Yaden, he had been privy to a lot of facts that normally were off-limits to everyone but the highest nobles. A briefing on Nosoti, among others. They were to be considered the good guys, powerful and knowledgeable beyond comprehension, allies and with the same security clearance as the Emperor himself. Definitely way beyond the paygrade of a former gladiator and glorified nanny. "How can I help you?"

"Oh, you've done so much already, for Yaden and his family, and humanity, you know?" Smiling in a way that looked positively star-struck, she reached out and took one of Darren's hands. "See, you're doing a good job, and a very important one. And we just... I just wanted to tell you that we know just HOW important a job it is you are doing, even if maybe no one else will ever know."

"I... just raised a boy." Darren said, struggling to understand what he was hearing. Was there really one of the most powerful creatures that humanity had ever met shaking his hand to congratulate him for not fucking up Yaden's childhood any more than it had already been? "It's what anyone else would have done in my place."

Now Beverly cocked her head, looking at him with a single eye, clearly showing that she didn't really buy his last comment but was way too polite to disagree. Darren suddenly remembered that it had been Lady Beverly who had lived as a human for many years, and only revealed her true nature when the N'bosoti returned shortly before the beginning of SW II. If she thought that Darren was doing something important and did a good job, she wasn't entirely unqualified. Still, he didn't feel as if he had done anything special.

"Well, lets just say he would have turned out very different if it hadn't been for you," Lady Beverly said politely. "But no proper thank you without a little gift, so I have brought a little something for you."

"That really wouldn't have been necessary, Ma'am," Darren interjected, feeling a little embarrassed.

"If it were necessary, it wouldn't be a gift, would it?" she asked in return, smiling cheekily. "But I think I figured out something really useful to give to you. I would like to give you our blessing."

That sounded a lot less scary than many of the other options, Darren found. But then again, this was a veritable Nosoti he was talking to, and their words carried a lot more power than any other creature's.

"That is very generous of you..." he replied hesitantly. "Do I have to do anything special?"

"No." Again smiling cheekily, she also took the other one of Darren's hands. "You shouldn't abuse it, but then again, we all already know you'd never do that."

"Abuse what?" Darren asked.

"The blessing," she replied, obviously needed a moment to understand the reason behind Darren's question. Then, she suddenly smiled widely, showing her brilliantly white, round teeth. "But I think I ought to tell you what to expect now, shouldn't I?"

"That would be kind, yes."

Beverly let go of Darren's hands and nodded contently. "Done. From this day on, no one will ever doubt your word. Unless, of course, you're talking absolute bullshit, that is."

"What?"

"I know, it's nothing big," she explained. "But it is very useful. No more arguing about bedtimes, or the necessity of homework..."

Blinking, Darren tried to grasp what had just happened. Together with what he had learned about the N'bosoti, her blessing made stunning sense.

"Is it - Are we talking about the opposite of the fear that N'bosoti strike in all living creatures?" Darren asked, incredulous. "Is it that? If fear is the Curse of the N'bosoti, the Blessing of the Nosoti is trust, then?"

A wide, almost proud smile grew in Beverly's alien but very expressive face. "You're a very smart one, Master Darren. Your presence now elicits as much trust as a N'bosoti would cause fear."

"But - shouldn't you reserve that for your own kind? I mean, it's the blessing of the Nosoti, after all."

This time, Lady Beverly laughed out loudly. "But why would we bless ourselves? That would be greedy, really, and we don't need another blessing. Nope, our blessing is to be given away to whom we want. To people who carry more of the world on their shoulders than they would believe themselves."

"I still think you got the wrong guy," Darren replied, "but thank you, Milady."

"Ah, never mind. It's just a little something to tweak the odds." Looking over Darren's shoulder at the bar, she gave a low, longing sigh. "Do you know if the milkshakes here are any good? It's been ages since I had my last proper milkshake."

"I can't really say, but if it's any measure, Yaden and Myriam love the raspberry and sweet chestnut shake."

"That sounds delicious," Beverly almost purred. Turning her attention back to Darren for a moment, she said: "Please, never hesitate to call me if ever you need any help. Really. Just have the psions' guild patch you through, I'll always have time for you."

"That is very generous, Milady." Despite still sitting in his pool lounger, Darren tried to give his best impression of a deep bow. "I hope I'll never have to take you up on the offer."

"Wisely spoken, indeed," Lady Beverly replied. "And now, if you don't mind, there's a milkshake waiting for me."

With a polite tip to her hat, Lady Beverly walked off towards the bar at the far end of the pool. Her walk was rather a waddle than a walk, though, but Darren found that expression impolite. Her race wasn't built for walking as humans were, Nosoti were built for standing and grazing. The way she playfully dipped the tip of her tail into the pool while she walked along the edge made him smile. What a charming person.

With a fond smile, he watched while she ordered her milkshake and paid like every other customer. With the shake in one hand and two others rummaging in her carpet bag, she waddled out of the yard and into the hotel's lobby, acting just like any other tourist and creating about as much attention as one, too.

Leaning back into his lounger, Darren closed his eyes for a moment. He had come a long way from being a simple gladiator back on Nabuco, he realized.

And it felt really good.

---

"Ivan?! VANYA!" Myriam yelled through their suite. "Vanya, where in the seven hells ARE you?!"

"Wut?!" Startled, Ivan snapped upright from the couch where he had been dozing. For a moment, he blinked, disoriented, then his eyes fixed on Myriam's purple-painted face. "Good Lord, what the fuck happened to you, girl?"

"We need every man out on the street," Myriam said, explaining nothing. "It's a loosing battle out there, and we need every man."

"What the fuck for?" Ivan asked, slowly getting properly awake. Why the fuck was his sister purple? "And who the hell are 'we'?"

"For fighting the bacons," Myriam explained, slightly annoyed. "And 'we' are the eggplants."

"Shouldn't we be fighting for the bacons, then?" Ivan asked, only slightly mocking her. After all, he wasn't particularly fond of his greens, at least not even remotely as fond as he was of his meat. "You know my attitude towards vegetables."

"We are heroes," Myriam stated firmly, leaving not even the trace of a chance for other options. "And we fight on the side of the underdogs. That is what heroes do."

"Right..." It was obvious that he was fighting a lost battle himself, here, so Ivan relented. "Why are we fighting these dastardly bacons again?"

Giving him a look that clearly showed that she thought him retarded, Myriam explained calmly: "It's the first night of the bacon harvest. It's bacon versus eggplants, trying to gain control over as much of downtown as possible." Her cute, eggplant-coloured face scrunched up in righteous anger. "I can't let the bacons get another win. They ALWAYS win." Pleading, she added: "With your help, we might stand a chance, this year."

"Calm down, Myriam, of course I will come." Casting a questioning glance at Colin and Yaden who were comfortably making out in a comfy club chair in a corner and completely ignored everything around them, he added: "It's not as if we're going to be missed tonight. So we'll give those arrogant fatty slices a thorough beating, won't we?"

"No beating," Myriam stated firmly, almost laughing at Ivan's visible disappointment. She held up a garishly coloured rubber hammer and hit herself repeatedly, causing the thing to give a tortured sqeak each time. "We hit them with THIS."

"Oh please, you're fucking kidding me!"

"Nope. It's not about hurting people. It's for fun. It'll be good, I promise." Grinning, she produced a second hammer, this one mostly red, and held it out for Ivan. "This one's yours."

"I can't really believe I am doing this," Ivan said, taking the hammer. But it did sound like fun, like something normal people did. "But I am not going to paint my face like this."

"Of course you will," Myriam replied matter-of-factly. "How else will they know you're playing, and that you're playing for the eggplants?"

With a deep sigh, Ivan rose from his couch nodding. Fighting a lost battle all the way.

"I have to warn you, though," he replied, taking the small jar of face-paint from his new little sister. "I really suck at non-lethal combat."

With a fiendish chuckle, Myriam agreed. "Don't worry. You're still better than anyone else. And if you run out of non-lethal moves - just don't move at all. It's only rubber hammers, after all."

"True enough." Looking at the facepaint in his hands, he suddenly had an idea. "I'll need more of this."

Raising a questioning eyebrow, Myriam was visibly delighted, whatever Ivan's plans were.

"You know, sis, my 'iconic' outfit comes without a shirt, right? So if I go out there and make a fool of myself in front of thousands of tourists and the press of the whole Empire that's camping in front of our hotel, this better be good."

"So you say, eggplant all the way?" Myriam almost bounced with glee. "Including a bonnet?"

Inwardly, Ivan rolled his eyes. "I already hate myself for asking. Bonnet?"

"A green, little bonnet, with a green, little stem on top..." Myriam explained, enhancing her words with pretty neat gestures. "Makes you look like an eggplant, you know?"

That was as bad as he had feared. "As long as you wear one, too, sure. In for a milla, in for a credit." Shooing her on, Ivan added: "Now go, I think we're loosing the fight, we have no minute to waste!"

Instantly, Myriam dashed off and was already almost out of the suite when she turned around on her heels and came back. Ivan had just taken off his T-shirt and was about to start painting his face and throat.

"What is it, sis? Need cash?"

"Nope." Hesitating for a second, she smiled at him, shyly. "You know you're the best brother ever, you know that, yes?"

Completely at a lack of words, Ivan only smiled at her, barely managing a little, insecure shrug.

But Myriam didn't seem expect him to say anything anyway. Instead, she just rushed forward and gave Ivan a fierce hug, leaving a purple smear of face-paint on his chest.

"I just thought that needed to be said," she concluded. "You haven't heard that even remotely often enough." Smiling, she tipped her imaginary hat. "Back in a second, with bonnets and more facepaint."

And then, she dashed out of the suite. Ivan remained behind, a little jar of purple face-paint in his hand, smiling. It seemed he had found his real family, after all.

---

"Okay," Colin said loudly, even though he was completely alone in their suite. "I am supposed to talk to you, so... I am talking."

Shaking his head at his own folly, Colin folded the sweater he had been holding and carried it over into Myriam's room. She was training at the monastery, right now, together with Yaden and Ivan, and of course they had left the place a complete mess. Both Ivan and Myriam admittedly had shreds of upbringing that made them at least try to clean up around themselves. Something that Yaden was completely lacking, unfortunately.

So Colin had seized the moment of relative calm to walk through their suite, cleaning up and already making plans for the next week when they would be back on their island once again. Shawn had promised that the oven would have been cleaned and the doors renewed, so Colin could start a first firing and see if the oven needed any other repairs. But somehow, he doubted it. It was Moradi craftswork, after all, built to last a lifetime at the very least.

Smiling, he put Myriam's sweater back into her drawer.

At first, Colin had been quite against her joining the boys for training, and it had taken him a while to understand why. She already was a better fighter than Colin would ever be, and much better able to protect their family from any violence. And that, precisely, had been what had irked him so. Luckily, he had realized the cause for his disapproval before the whole affair could have turned ugly, and had relented, pressing Myriam into promising him that she would be careful.

In the silence of their empty suite, Colin had first tried and get some rest, maybe read a book on the shaded balcony that overlooked the pool in the hotel's inner courtyard. But his disproportionate reaction still angered him. Was he really that envious that his daughter could go and fight with his husband, and he was just sitting there, wondering when they would come back? That just didn't feel right. He was angry, yes, and envious, but not about Myriam's abilities.

Normally, this would have been the moment where he put on a new batch of bread dough. Kneading always helped calm his nerves, sort his mind and it was productive. But alas, he really wasn't going to bother the poor kitchen staff any more than he already had. So, instead he had taken up the next best thing to therapeutic baking - cleaning up.

It hadn't taken much time until Colin realized that what bothered him most was the fact that while Yaden, Myriam and Ivan could just go and get someone to teach them how to improve their unique skills, he felt left alone. Of course, Father K'gosi would offer any help he could give, but Colin already knew he wouldn't have much to teach that he would actually want to learn. K'gosi could teach him about Youh'Kai customs, about stories featuring Ynagra and about her sacred holidays. But that wasn't what he needed. He needed training on how to get a connection with that goddess he was supposed to be following already. Unless he had that, no talk about miracles and rituals had any use.

The only hint had been Father K'gosi's suggestion to talk to her. It still was a silly notion, Colin felt, but still. With the knot of anger in his stomach, he didn't even mind talking to an empty suite.

"You know," he continued while gathering up some of the books that seemed to grow around Myriam like mushrooms on a wet meadow. "I think I should start by saying thank you. I mean, if that was really you who scared that... monster out of our ship, you saved our lives. That was pretty awesome."

In his imagination, he could almost see Ynagra give him a tiny, slightly shy shrug and say 'You're welcome.'

"It's just - it won't be the last time we will need your help. I really don't want to sound ungrateful, or greedy. It's just - you know Yaden's job, don't you? He's taking all the risks so others won't have to. He'll need a lot of protection from you. From us."

Somehow, Colin was sure she understood. Not like a great, celestial being that, in its infinite wisdom, acknowledged Colin's little worries. No, it felt as if he was talking to an old friend of his, who was just as worried and insecure about her family as he was about his. As if they were having a chat over a cup of coffee, and even though he wasn't currently looking at her, Colin knew exactly what kind of face she was making.

A little creeped out by this oddly clear sensation, Colin looked over his shoulder. But he was alone, just by himself, talking loudly to an empty hotel suite.

"Okay..." he said, hesitant. "So you are listening when I talk to you. Why should I believe you're a god, and not some sneaky psion having some mean fun with me?"

Instantly, Colin knew that his suspicion was unfounded. Since moving to P2, he had had tons of conversations with psions, and he knew how the thoughts of other people felt. This wasn't some sort of telepathy. It was much more subtle, wordless, and pretty much instantaneous. It was as if he had always known, and only now remembered.

"You know I had to ask."

Better safe than sorry, Ynagra would have said, if she had been present.

"So... how do I start? How do WE start? I mean, we have a lot of work ahead, and they need every bit of protection that we can - "

Confused, Colin stopped mid-sentence, sitting down on the corner of Myriam's bed.

He knew that Yaden was fine. It wasn't just that he was pretty sure. He knew. Just like he knew that his feet were still attached to his legs without looking, he knew that Yaden was unharmed, and currently under no particular threat. Same with Myriam. Ivan was mostly fine, only a little damaged and doing something potentially dangerous, but he wasn't under any direct threat, either.

-- Psions' Guild? -- Colin thought firmly. -- Please patch me through to Sir Yaden. --

Being married to a Phoenix Knight definitely had its advantages. The Psions' Guild operator didn't even ask, instead Colin could sense him connecting to Yaden in less than a heartbeat.

-- Yes, love? -- he heard his husband's mental voice in his head. -- What's wrong? --

-- I'm fine. Is Ivan currently doing a training fight or something like that? --

-- He is indeed... How did you... --

-- I'm figuring out a few things. -- Colin replied truthfully. -- I just wanted to see if I am right. I'll tell you the rest tonight. --

Intrigued but entirely unworried, Yaden sent him the image of a blown kiss and then dropped the connection, clearly trying to fully concentrate on Ivan's lesson.

For a long moment, Colin stared at this new sensation in his head. It wasn't so much facts as knowledge, and nothing really specific. But it was very distinct information, and the longer he listened inside himself, the more he could tell. Colin could feel when Ivan was done with his round of training, his risk suddenly sinking markedly. Instead, Myriam started doing something potentially risky, though at a much more tempered level. Apparently, even the Belligra didn't put little girls through the same routines as they did with Phoenix Squires.

Somewhere in the back of Colin's mind, Ynagra smiled at him with another shy shrug. It starts with keeping tabs on them, she said. You'll never have to wonder again if they are in danger. Now, you will know.

Thank you, Colin thought in a way that he thought would fit into this weird form of communication. It's the next step of carrying your family in your heart, isn't it?

This time, Ynagra only smiled in agreement.

Just as every time when thinking about his new family, Colin couldn't suppress a wistful thought about his other family, about his aunt Madeline and his cousin Michael who had disappeared without a trace. Only this time, he KNEW that they were still alive. Madeline was healthy and as safe as a human could possibly be. Michael was fine, but doing something at least as risky as training with the Belligra.

Suddenly fighting tears, Colin realized what K'gosi had meant when he said being a priest of Ynagra was about being like her. It didn't mean Colin had to change - he had to become more like himself. Just the way the Youh'Kai did whatever they did with reckless abandon, their gods were unapologetically themselves. And in Colin's case, that meant loving, nurturing and protecting his family without hesitation or second thought. It meant doing the one thing Colin wanted more than anything else.

And if K'gosi had been right, and this was the path for Colin to gain some supernatural firepower of his own - then those monsters should be afraid, indeed, very afraid. Because Colin fully intended to be anything but humble about this. No, he would wring every ounce of power out of this to flatten anyone who dared threatening those in his care.

Still sitting on the bed, Colin smiled. And it was a smile just as disconcerting as any Youh'Kai's. Even without the pointy teeth.


 
 
 
idolme922idolme922 on May 5th, 2013 08:11 pm (UTC)
I just love how you write this family with all their strengths and weaknesses, special powers and ordinary love. They surely will all take care of one another whether baking bread or fighting strange beasts which threaten. I love that Colin has his own super power now. :D

Beautiful story.
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on May 6th, 2013 06:58 am (UTC)
Thank you, dear!
I love that expression, special powers and ordinary love. It fits lovely with the feeling we've had in mind with this family.

And yes, Colin starts having a super power of his own. You didn't really think we'd leave him home alone all the time, being nothing but the beloved husband in need of protecting, did you?
talomor on May 6th, 2013 07:28 pm (UTC)
No matter the story, whenever I read about Malicorn I get this craving for bacon... I think I'm gonna try those cheese-filled meatballs with bacon on top some time, that Robert loves so much...
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on May 7th, 2013 09:00 am (UTC)
Yeah, well, Malicorn seems to have that effect. Must be some nefarious marketing trick of their porc breeders' guild... ^^
debbiemethosdeb on May 7th, 2013 12:05 am (UTC)
loved it,bacon and eggplant fights now I have heard everything,I'd have to fight on the bacon side of that battle.I am glad that Colin has finally found some sort of peace just knowing that he can feel out his family and know if they are safe.I can't wait for Darran to use his gift on the family.They will not know what hit them.
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on May 7th, 2013 09:04 am (UTC)
Ah well, I stole the fight from some saint's fiesta in Portugal, at least the rubber hammers... I have to admit I'm not so sure which side I would fight in. If it's about taste, I'd be in the red-and-white team each year. But I'd really love to help the eggplants, soo...

We'll get to hear quite a bit more of Colin's newfound abilities in the coming stories. Darren's gift, on the other hand, is so subtle probably no one is going to notice it. ^^
Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainenmissingkeys on May 14th, 2013 02:15 pm (UTC)
Whee, this is glorious! I'm very sorry that I missed this earlier, but I don't feel any regret at all that I got to sit down today and read the whole fic in one go all wrapped up and snuggly inside and away from the crappy weather. *massive glomps to you*

The bacon versus eggplant fight was excellent. The gifts were awesome. I'm so, so chuffed that Darren was appreciated here, and that Ivan and Myriam are so adorable. (I'm sure I could probably look it up somewhere, but if I may ask: how old is Ivan?) Most of all, I'm really loving Colin here. He's just so excellent, and I love that he's now got a superpower of his own. :)
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on May 16th, 2013 09:12 am (UTC)
So, back from vacation and right into the chaos at work. ^^

Glad you liked the fic, and the whole absurd chaos on Malicorn. It was long time due that Darren got some sort of recognition, just as Colin just had to have some sort of superpower. After all, we're talking about a family of heroes, here. :)

Thanks for commenting!
Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainenmissingkeys on May 17th, 2013 07:17 am (UTC)
You're very welcome, lovely. I hope your vacation was good! (I know I'm looking forward to another long weekend, hehe.)
BerthaBlueberthablue on May 15th, 2013 09:54 am (UTC)
I want the blessing that Darren got! What a lovely little gift!

The scene with Myriam and Ivan was perfectly adorable! Bacon vs. eggplants forever! And when she said he was the best brother ever... awwwwww!

Yay for Colin getting his own super power :) The line about him becoming more like himself made me smile.